Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Walworth welcomes residents to new Town Hall
Voters will cast ballots at new location

by Rob Ireland

March 31, 2011

The new Town Hall opened for business on Monday.
Walworth Township — The new Town Hall is open for business — just in time for the April election.

As of Monday, the town's offices moved to its new Brick Church Road location, which features a larger meeting room, offices for town staff and a larger garage for town vehicles.

During the April 5 Spring election, town voters will cast their ballots at the new facility. Town Chairman Joe Abell said instructions and directions will be posted at the old building to help redirect voters who aren't aware of the change.

The old building, fittingly located on Town Hall Road, was sold for $200,000 and is scheduled to close April 1. When town officials pitched the idea for the building to residents, they stated they planned on selling the old building for $200,000.

Abell said the new facility features "green" lights and heating and cooling systems, which will help reduce future energy costs.

On April 13, 2010, during the town's annual meeting, residents voted 89-3 to spend up to $740,000 to build a new Town Hall.

Talks of a new facility began after Kikkoman Foods agreed to donate 7 acres of land near its plant for the building.

On Thursday, Abell and Road Superintendent Mike Austin walked through the new facility with a Lake Geneva Regional News reporter.

Abell and Austin said they expected the project costs to come in within budget. However, the town is still waiting for some final numbers.

"I'm pretty confident we are within our budget," August said.

Overall, Abell said he was pleased with the new facility and the work the contractors have done.

"We have a very short punch list left," Abell said.

Austin said another layer of blacktop is needed for the asphalt, a sign needs to be put in front of the building and landscaping is needed on the grounds.

"We have some local people who are donating trees and labor," Austin said.

Walking through the new meeting room, Abell said this location provides a larger and more professional area for town business.

The old building couldn't seat large crowds, but the new facility can accommodate up to 85 people. With the old Town Hall, meetings that brought large audiences were moved to Walworth Elementary School.

The building has four offices, one for the town's clerk and treasurer, one for the town chairman, one to be shared by the supervisors, one to be shared by the building assessor and inspector and one for the road superintendent, the town's only full-time employee.

Austin said his current desk is the end of a work bench.

"After 28 years I get an office," he said with a chuckle.

One of the reasons town officials wanted a new facility was because the street department didn't have enough room to store its vehicles.

With the old facility, town vehicles were stored at farms throughout the township during off-seasons. The town has two garages, one with three bays and one with two.

Austin and Abell said one of the benefits to storing the vehicles on-site is maintenance work can be performed during the off-seasons.

In the garage, there is an upstairs record-keeping room, which will store town records that date back to the 1880s.

Abell said the room is climate-controlled, which will help preserve the records.

In the storage room, space also has been dedicated for the use of the local Historical Society and the American Legion.

The new facility also includes a large salt shed. In the past, the town purchased salt from the county as it needed. In that situation, if the county ran out of supplies, so did the town.

Austin said the new shed should hold enough salt for a winter season, even, as it did Wednesday night, enter into spring.

Abell said he hopes to have an open house for the new facility sometime this summer.

In other news, the towns annual meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 6:30 p.m.